To consider a report from the Clerk, which informs members of the political composition of H&IWFRA and seeks approval for various constitutional arrangements to enable it to operate lawfully during the shadow year.
The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire & Rescue Authority (H&IWFRA) considered a paper of the Clerk (item 8 in the minute book) to set up the Constitutional and governance arrangements for the Shadow Authority ahead of the transition into the Combined Fire Authority (CFA) in April 2021. The Order had allowed Members to be appointed and there were currently 11 Members on the Shadow Authority. From April 2021 all Committees would be politically balanced, but this didn’t apply to the Shadow Authority year.
Paragraph 11 summarised the Constitutional arrangements. The new CFA would be subject to same local legal requirements and therefore the usual democratic processes applied. It was proposed that the arrangements mirror those in place for HFRA with the same Clerk and Chief Finance Officer.
The table highlighted in paragraph 19 portrayed which parts of the Constitution would apply from June 2020 and those from April 2021 once the CFA was in place. The Shadow Authority would have no power over the existing HFRA until April 2021 and the Standards & Governance, Stakeholder and other relevant Committees would not require appointments until April 2021.
Members debated the Clerk to the Authority continuing as the Chief Executive of the County Council, and it was felt that this was a historic tradition no longer required. As the Combined Authority would be a new independent body, Members agreed that it would be appropriate to look at the Clerk and Monitoring officer role within the Shadow Authority year to see whether there was a more suitable way forward.
a. H&IWFRA noted the Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority Meetings and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 and their effects in enabling the Authority to hold virtual meetings, as set out in the report.
b. H&IWFRA noted the political composition of H&IWFRA as set out at Appendix 1.
H&IWFRA appointed John Coughlan, Chief Executive of Hampshire
County Council as the Clerk and Monitoring Officer of
d. H&IWFRA appointed Rob Carr as the Chief Financial Officer of H&IWFRA.
e. H&IWFRA adopted, with immediate effect, the parts of the Constitution set out at paragraph 19 and Appendix 2 which were stated to be applicable from 3 June 2020 and noted and agreed those parts of the Constitution that will only apply with effect from 1 April 2021.
f. H&IWFRA agreed that from 3 June 2020 to 31 March 2021, references to the Chief Fire Officer (or to other specific officers, such as the Chief of Staff) in any parts of the Constitution that apply from 3 June 2020 shall be construed as meaning the Chief Fire Officer (or other specific officer) of HFRA.
g. H&IWFRA granted a dispensation to all members of the Authority who have a home, house or land in the Authority’s administrative area to participate and vote in any item of Authority business connected to setting the precept.
h. That the H&IWFRA will continue to review the position in recommendation c over the course of the municipal year.